Edamame Rice Salad

We weren’t exactly sure what to name this dish… is it a carb? Is it a salad? Is it a vegetarian entree? It’s a little bit of everything, thanks to an abundance of veggies in this dish. Cooking at home for nearly every meal since March has given us a chance to experiment with recipes that go the extra distance and last for more than one meal. Zhuzhing up leftovers feels like a much easier task than cooking new recipes for every darn meal of the week. This Edamame Rice Salad fulfills that task perfectly. Leftovers hold up really well for a few days in the refrigerator. We can add grilled chicken, shrimp, or avocado to give leftovers a new look. Best of all, it’s a quick and easy recipe that keeps us eating healthy all week long. 

Asian Veggie Rice 
Makes: 6+ servings
Prep Time: 30 minutes   Total Time: 40 minutes

Ingredients For The Salad:

  • 2 cups brown rice
  • 2 cups lightly packed chopped purple cabbage 
  • 2 cups frozen edamame beans, no shells 
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 2 bell peppers, diced 
  • 4 scallions, diced 
  • 2/3 cup cilantro, chopped 
  • 1/2 cup sliced, toasted almonds 
  • 1 tbs sesame seeds 

Ingredients for the Dressing*: 

  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup sesame oil
  • 4 tbs rice vinegar
  • 3 tbs soy sauce
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced 
  • 2 tbs minced fresh ginger
  • 1 tsp chili paste
  • salt to taste

Directions: 

  1. Heat 4 cups of water in a large pot and bring to a boil. Add the brown rice and reduce the pot to a simmer. Cook according to package directions, about 30 minutes. 
  2. While the rice is cooking, chop the other vegetables and make the dressing. Whisk the dressing ingredients (vegetable oil – chili paste) in a medium bowl until they are combined. Season to taste with salt, set aside.
  3. When the rice has finished cooking, fluff it with a fork to release some of the steam. Add the frozen edamame to the rice, give it a quick stir, and cover for 5 minutes. This will help thaw the edamame and bring the temperature of the rice down, closer to room temperature. 
  4. Make the salad by combining the brown rice- bell peppers in a large bowl. Add half of the cilantro and scallions and half of the dressing; toss to coat. Top with the remaining cilantro, scallions, dressing, sliced almonds, and sesame seeds to serve. 

*If making the dressing from scratch isn’t in your plans, substitute with any of your favorite Asian salad dressings from the grocery store. 


Bok Choy Salad with Sesame Vinaigrette

We buy bok choy all of the time to pair with our favorite Asian recipes like Mapo Tofu and our Steamed Mushroom Buns. Some of the dishes we make are admittedly heavy and need a veggie side kick to balance things out. We usually sauté bok choy on high heat with a bunch of garlic, but now that the weather is getting warmer we decided to mix things up and serve it raw. Bok choy is a leafy green and is a great crunchy substitute for lettuce in a salad. Use this recipe as a “fridge clean out recipe” and toss in any veggies you have on hand. Bell peppers, avocado, and diced mushrooms would all make great additions to bulk the salad up.

Bok Choy Salad with Sesame Vinaigrette

Makes: 4 servings (side salad)

Prep Time: 20 minutes Total Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 4 baby bok choy, stems removed and chopped
  • 1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup baby carrots, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted

Ingredients for Dressing:

  • 1/3 cup sesame oil
  • 2 tbs rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tbs soy sauce
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • salt to taste

Directions:

  1. Make the dressing. Whisk together the sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, and garlic in a small mixing bowl. Season to taste with salt.
  2. Combine the salad ingredients in a large serving bowl. Toss with the dressing and serve immediately.

Loaded Bahn Mi Fries

Every once in a while we get a wild hair to create food that is epically decadent. Tuck’s mom had been browsing recipes for bahn mi sandwiches- a traditional Vietnamese sandwich with pork, cilantro, and pickled vegetables- and decided all of those ingredients would taste way better loaded onto baked french fries. What can we say? We play for the tie when it comes to quick, easy recipes and stupidly over the top recipes. We try to keep it interesting!

Taking one look at this ingredient list will show you that this dish has a ton of components. If you aren’t feeling like spending this much time and effort in the kitchen you can easily modify or skip ingredients all together. However, if you go all in you will love this recipe. It’s sweet and spicy, crispy and crunchy…. everything you want from a messy, delicious, mega appetizer. We hope to double it and make it for a giant party once quarantine is over.

Loaded Bahn Mi Fries

Makes: 4 entree servings, 6-8 appetizer servings

Prep Time: 25 minutes Total Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients for the Fries:

  • 3 large russet potatoes
  • 2 tbs vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cucumber, diced
  • 1 jalapeno, thinly sliced
  • cilantro, for garnish
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/3 cup Sriracha

Ingredients for the Pickled Veggies:

  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 thai chili, left whole

Ingredients for the Pork

  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 inch fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 tbs fish sauce
  • 2 tbs fish sauce
  • 1 tbs brown sugar
  • 1 tbs Sriracha

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Slice the potatoes into fry shaped sticks. Toss the fries in the vegetable oil and season them with salt and pepper. Lay them in a single layer on a cookie sheet or two and place in the oven. Cook for 25 minutes, or until the fries are crispy on the outside and cooked through the center.
  3. While the fries are cooking make the pickled veggies. Combine the ingredients for the pickled veg (carrots- Thai chili) in a medium mixing bowl. Add enough water to the bowl to submerge the vegetables. Set aside until ready to use.
  4. After you have completed the picked veg make the ground pork. Heat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the pork and cook for about 4 minutes. After that time, drain most of the fat away from the pan, reserving about 1 tbs. Add the remaining ingredients (ginger- Sriracha) to the pork and cook another 5 minutes, or until the flavors have combined. Season with salt and pepper as necessary.
  5. Lastly, make the Sriracha mayo by combining the two ingredients in a small bowl. Add 1 tbs water if the mayo is too thick to drizzle over the fries.
  6. When the potatoes are out of the oven, lay the fries on a large serving platter (we just use the cookie sheet from the potatoes as it becomes a giant mess anyway). Layer the pork on top. Drain the pickled veggies well and scatter them over top. Top with the Sriracha mayo, cucumber, cilantro, and jalapeno to serve.

Mapo Tofu

We have been seeing a ton of recipes online lately for Mapo Tofu. We have our go-to favorite place in Denver for getting very good, traditional Sichuan cuisine (Shanghai Kitchen) but had not tried Mapo Tofu until recently. We ordered it, immediately fell in love, and knew we wanted to recreate it at home. This dish is rich, spicy and will warm you up any night for dinner. We prefer to serve this with rice and a green veggie on the side for an easy weeknight dinner.

Mapo Tofu
Makes: 4 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes Total Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 inches fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 1-2 tsp Chinese red pepper depending on your spice preference
  • 1 tsp Sichuan peppercorns
  • 1 tbs red bean paste
  • 2 tbs black vinegar
  • 1 lb soft tofu, cubed

Instructions:

  1. Heat a pan over medium heat. Add the garlic, ginger and ground pork. You do not need to add oil as the fat from the pork will melt and add liquid to the pan. Sauté for 6-8 minutes until the pork is cooked completely through.
  2. Add the Chinese red pepper, peppercorns, red bean paste and black vinegar. Mix thoroughly to combine the ingredients. Add the tofu, reduce the heat to low and cook for 10 minutes. Be sure the tofu is heated throughout.
  3. Serve over rice, hot, and enjoy!

Semi-Homemade Mushroom Buns

We have posted a few pictures on our Instagram of us experimenting (and mostly eating) steamed buns. When we are trying not to eat as much meat or have extra mushrooms on hand, we love using them as the base for the buns. What we love about mushrooms is that they soak up all of the liquid and seasoning that you cook them. Half of our quarantine gang claims to not like mushrooms but had no problem eating these bad boys. To make life a little more simple, we used pre-made, frozen buns. We found these at H-Mart during our weekly grocery shopping trip. When yeast becomes more readily available we plan to experiment with making them from scratch!  

Semi-Homemade Mushroom Buns 
Makes: 4 servings 
Prep Time: 15 minutes Total Time: 40 minutes 

Ingredients: 

  • 3 tbs sesame oil 
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced 
  • 2 inches fresh ginger, minced 
  • 1 lb mixed mushrooms (we used crimini and oyster), chopped
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce 
  • 1/4 cup hoisin 
  • 1 tsp Chinese chili power (or substitute red chili flakes)
  • 12 frozen steamed buns 
  • cucumber slices, for garnish
  • scallion slices, for garnish 
  • Sriracha, for garnish 

Instructions:

  1. Heat a pan over medium heat. Add the sesame oil, garlic and ginger. Saute for 5 minutes until the ginger and garlic become fragrant but not burnt. 
  2. Reduce the heat to low and add the mushrooms. Add the soy sauce, hoisin and chili powder and saute for 15 minutes, stirring frequently. You want the mushrooms to be cooked down and covered by the sauce. 
  3. While the mushrooms are sautéing, steam the buns according to the package directions.
  4. Assemble the buns. Cut the buns in half and add a generous portion of the mushroom mix to the bottom. Top with Sriracha and cucumber slices and serve warm. 

Momofuku Inspired Chilled Spicy Noodles

If it isn’t abundantly clear, we love ourselves a good noodle bowl. It was love at first bite when we first tried Momofuku in New York and have made it a point every time we go to the city to stop by for noodles, steamed buns, and any and everything else on the menu. One summer we tried their Chilled Ramen Bowl and Tate’s Dad couldn’t get enough. We have since been recreating this dish at our homes so we can enjoy it year round. This dish is the perfect combo of spicy, sweet and crunchy. We used spinach in this recipe but you can substitute for any green vegetable that you have on hand. Because it is served cold, you can make extras that will hold up extremely well in your fridge so you can have this all week long.

Momofuku Inspired Chilled Spicy Noodles
Makes: 6 servings 
Prep Time: 20 minutes    Total Time: 35 minutes 

Ingredients for The Candied Cashews**:

  • 1/2 cup cashews
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tbs water 

Ingredients For the Noodles: 

  • 2 lbs ground pork
  • 1 inch fresh ginger, grated 
  • 4 dried thai chiles, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced 
  • 6 cups spinach
  • 2 tbs soy sauce
  • 2 tbs fish sauce
  • 2 tbs sesame oil 
  • 1 lb fresh wonton noodles (any fresh soup noodle will work) 
  • scallions, for garnish 
  • salt and pepper to taste. 

Directions: 

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Make the cashews by combining the cashews, sugar, and water in a small bowl- stir to combine. Pour the mixture into a medium skillet over medium heat. Let the liquid and sugar start to bubble. When it starts to caramelize pour the cashews onto a greased cookie sheet. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes, or until the cashews are golden brown and crunchy. 
  2. While the cashews are cooking, start the pork. Heat a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the pork, ginger, thai chiles, and garlic to the pan. Season to taste with salt and pepper and cook until the pork is cooked through. Add the spinach, reduce the heat, and cook until the spinach is cooked through. Drain most of the fat from the pan, reserving 1/4 cup for the noodles, and turn the heat off the pan. 
  3. Cook the noodles. Heat a large pot of water over high heat and bring to a boil. Cook the noodles according to package directions. Drain the noodles when they have finished cooking and rinse with cold water to cool. Toss the noodles with the soy sauce, fish sauce, and sesame oil; season with salt to taste. If they need a little extra liquid, use a bit of the reserved fat from the pork to give them a flavorful coating. 
  4. Create the noodle bowls by layering the noodles on the bottom of the bowl. Top with the ground pork and spinach mix and finish with the candied cashews. Garnish with chopped scallions if desired. 

** You can skip this step and buy a number of candied cashew varieties at the grocery store and skip this step! We often use Trader Joe’s Sesame Candied Cashews as a quick replacement.


Spicy Chicken Noodle Soup

One of our favorite local restaurants for Chinese food is Shanghai Kitchen. For the untrained, Shanghai Kitchen is a good, standard Chinese restaurant. However, what most people don’t know is that Shanghai Kitchen actually has two different menus – one being filled with authentic Shanghainese cuisine. Throughout the years we have made friends with the restaurant staff and they have exposed us to new, amazing dishes. One of those dishes is the beef in chili oil. Our obsession with this dish inspired us to figure out how we can make new dishes within that same flavor profile. After experimenting a bit, we have come up with this spicy chicken noodle soup. Full of flavor and heat, this soup will warm you up on any cold night. We recommend making it in big batches as one bowl simply won’t be enough.

Spicy Chicken Noodle Soup
Makes: 4 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes Total Time: 1 hour

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbs vegetable oil
  • 1 small white onion, diced
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
  • 6 stalks celery, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 5 large chicken thighs
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 2 cups chili oil
  • 1 lb noodles (we used shells for this recipe but prefer udon)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • scallions for garnish, optional

Directions:

  1. Heat a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the vegetable oil to the pan along with the onion, carrots, and celery. Sauté for 4-5 minutes, or until the vegetables are starting to caramelize. Add the garlic and cook another 2 minutes.
  2. Season the chicken thighs well with salt and pepper on both sides. Add the chicken thighs to the pan, creating room in the pan so that they have direct contact with the bottom of the pan. Cook for 4 minutes per side so that the chicken starts to brown and retains its juices.
  3. Add the chili oil and chicken stock to the pot. Bring the liquids up to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Cover and cook for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, remove the chicken thighs from the pot. Shred them with a fork or dice them with a knife and return the chicken back to the soup. Cook another 10 minutes covered and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  4. While the soup is in it’s final 10 minutes of cooking, bring a second pot of salted water to a boil. Add the noodles of your choice and cook according to package directions. Drain the noodles and add them to the soup. If you aren’t planning to eat the soup in one sitting, add the drained noodles to each serving of soup and top with chicken and broth. This will prevent the noodles from getting soggy if you eat the soup over the course of a few days. Top with chopped scallions before serving, if desired.

Spicy Shishito Peppers

Ordering shishito peppers at restaurants is one of our go-to appetizers. They are healthy and adapt to almost any flavor profile. One of our favorite reasons to eat them is we have a little bit of fun with the Russian Roulette game of “who is going to eat the crazy hot pepper?” For those unfamiliar, shishito peppers derive from Asia. They are about finger width and length and every one in eight peppers is spicy.

We have been so excited to see shishitos popping up at grocery stores. We have found them at Trader Joes and our regular grocery store, King Soopers. We have made a super simple preparation and have included our homemade spicy chili oil. These make a perfect snack or appetizer if you aren’t afraid of a little heat!


Spicy Shishito Peppers

Makes: 4 appetizer servings

Total Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 bag of shishito peppers (about 30 peppers)
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 inches ginger, chopped
  • 4 tbs chili oil

Directions:

  1. Add the chili oil, garlic and ginger to a pan over medium heat. Sauté the garlic and ginger for 2-3 minutes. You want it to cook, but not get brown.
  2. Add the shishito peppers to the pan and sauté for 10 minutes. It is ok if the shishito peppers start to brown. Keep stirring them throughout the cooking process so that they cook evenly on all sides. Serve hot and top with a little bit of salt.

Homemade Chili Oil

We have said it about 1000 times already but we absolutely love Asian food. One of our favorite ways to eat dumplings, pot stickers, noodles and just about anything, Asian or not, is to add chili oil. It is a condiment that we immediately request when we sit down to eat. With this in mind, we experimented a bit to create our own chili oil that we could have on hand in the kitchen to spice up our recipes. This recipe is a bit involved in terms of ingredients. You are going to need a lot of spices and to execute this carefully so they do not burn. But don’t be intimidated! We will walk you through this step by step. The best part is, once you make this recipe, you will have enough to hold you over for a while. Maybe….


Homemade Chili Oil
Makes: 1.5 cups of chili oil
Total Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 star anise
  • 4 tbs Chinese chili powder (see here)
  • 2 tbs chili powder
  • 1 tbs cayenne powder
  • 1 tbs Chinese 5 spice
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 6 Thai chilies
  • 1 1/2 cups canola oil

Directions:

  1. Combine all seasonings (star anise – Thai chilies) in an oven proof dish. You will want to be sure that this dish is deep enough enough room for the 1.5 cups of oil plus an inch or two on top.
  2. In a pan, heat the canola oil. Once hot, add the garlic. You will want the garlic to begin to fry but not burn – roughly one minute. Turn off the heat on the pan.
  3. Very carefully (over your sink) pour the hot oil into the dish with the seasonings. Once the oil is added, the seasonings will begin to boil. This is what you want! Let the seasonings boil and do their thing for a few minutes while the oil cools.
  4. When the oil cools completely, store in a mason jar or other air proof container. To keep it lasting longer, keep it in the refrigerator.
  5. Use on top of anything. Dumplings, noodles, tacos, eggs… the sky is the limit!


Semi-Homemade Massaman Curry

When Tuck’s mom and dad came home from Thailand, we were gifted with the ultimate arrangement of spices and curry mixes to try. We have loved making them these past few months and have found that modifying this dish is super easy and a fun way to experiment in the kitchen. Because we love spicy, we have added spicy Thai chilies to give the curry a kick. Feel free to incorporate vegetables that you have on hand and approach to make this a complete meal. We know that you probably won’t be able to find the exact packets that we used from Thailand but have included a link to something similar that you can purchase. Most mainstream grocery stores will have curry packets in the Asian aisle as well.

Semi-Homemade Massaman Curry

Makes: 4 servings

Prep Time: 25 minutes Total Time: 40 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 packet Massaman curry mix (similar here)
  • 1 can full fat coconut milk
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 package boneless, skinless chicken thighs cut into strips
  • 2 cups water
  • 4 – 10 thai chilis
  • chopped green onion (optional)
  • 3 -4 cups rice or 1 package thai rice noodles

Directions:

  1. Add the curry mix and 1/2 of the can of coconut milk to a pan and bring to a boil. Be sure to stir thoroughly until the mix is fully incorporated into the coconut milk.
  2. Add the chicken and onion and cook for 5 minutes. The chicken does not need to be fully cooked through.
  3. Add the water and Thai chilis and simmer on low heat for 30 minutes. Keep the lid off the pan so that some of the water can evaporate.
  4. While the curry in cooking, cook the rice or noodles according to the package directions.
  5. Serve the curry over rice and noodles, hot. Add the green onions on top for garnish.